Police believe the person whose body was found in a burnt-out car in North Canterbury on Sunday was Shane Bell, a Christchurch car salesman.
A scene examination and a post-mortem have concluded that it is highly likely that 29-year-old Bell is the victim, Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer said today.
The body is extensively damaged from fire, after vehicle was found burnt out in a North Canterbury river bed.
"At this stage the enquiry remains a suspicious death investigation,” Mr Archer said.
“We are trying to put together a picture of the deceased's movements in the days leading up to his death.”
Police are appealing to the public for information about the death, after the last reported sighting of Mr Bell in the Christchurch suburb of Dallington on Thursday morning.
Police are also appealing for any sightings of Mr Bell’s silver Subaru station wagon prior to Thursday evening, when it is believed to have been burnt out.
Bullets found in the side of the car, which were previously assumed to be suspicious, have now been discounted as being related to the fire or the death.
A group of recreational shooters have told Police that they put several bullets into car when they found it burnt out on Friday.
“They have indicated that the car was already burnt out at that time, and that they fired shots at the vehicle using a rifle,” Mr Archer said.
A scene examination continues today, but Police hope to prove the identity of the victim through further forensic investigations.
Anyone with information about Mr Bell or the 1989 silver Subaru station wagon is asked to contact Christchurch police on (03) 363 7400.
Alternatively, to provide information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.